Viloria-Zou encounter a possibility next year

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MACAU—They may be friends now, but Brian Viloria and Zou Shiming are destined for a ring collision next year.

Unless, of course, they got upset by less heralded opponents last night in the featured bouts of the Fists of Gold fight card at the Cotai Arena at The Venetian resort and casino here.

Viloria, the WBO and WBA flyweight champion, was fighting Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada at presstime while Zou, the Chinese two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time World Amateur titlist, was to make his professional debut against Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela later.

The 32-year-old Viloria and Zou trained together and sparred against  each other at celebrated trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood  in the course of their preparations for this gambling mecca’s first major boxing card.

At first, Viloria, who worked under Filipino trainer Marvin Somodio, and Zou, who was handled by Roach himself, was dominant in his  sparring sessions with the 31-year-old Zou,  China’s  first Olympic boxing medalist with a bronze in the 2004 Athens Games.

But Zou, according to Roach, started to hold  his own in succeeding workouts and even got the best of Viloria a few times.

Viloria praised Zou’s speed and skills, but noted that the Chinese still needs to develop his muscles and add more power to be truly effective in the pro ranks.

Meanwhile, Dave Peñalosa knocked out Thai Cheroenchai Sithsaithong in the second round of the curtain-raiser.

The unbeaten Peñalosa, son of two-time world champion Dodie Boy Sr. and nephew of two-time world champion Gerry Peñalosa, posted his sixth straight win, four by knockout. Sithsaithong fell to 4-3 with 3 KOs.

Dodie Boy Jr. later recovered from a surprise first round knockdown to stop Thai Nimithra Sithsaitong with 2:54 gone in the third round of their super featherweight duel.

The power-punching Filipino southpaw, who was dropped with a left straight to the jaw, caught the Thai with two body shots to notch his 11th straight win, all by knockout.

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